Spain faces France in the UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship final on Friday at the Lilleküla stadium in Tallinn.
Denied only on penalties by Germany in last year’s dramatic Sarajevo final, Spain have done it again after another impressive run. They won every game in qualifying, beating Germany 2-0 on matchday one, and their most nervous moment didn’t come until Tuesday’s Lilleküla semi-final against England. Spain were tied 1-1 after halftime and only won 3-1 on two late goals, becoming the decider for a record 10th time in the 14 editions.
Vicky Lopez, Spain’s captain on Friday, is set for her second consecutive final, having also starred last year but missed the decisive penalty against Germany. She then went on to become player of the tournament when Spain won the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India, a competition that also featured 2023 squad members Ainhoa Alguacil and Cristina Librán.
France, however, can have high hopes of only being the fourth different nation to win this title, having lost their previous three finals. They comfortably made it through the group stage and in an impressive semi-final performance they defeated a team they lost to in qualifying, Switzerland, 10-2. Maeline Mendy’s hat-trick and two from Chancelle Effa Effa meant they were both level with England’s Michelle Agyemang on a leading four goals in the final.
These nations have previously met once in a final, in 2011 in Nyon, Switzerland. Alba Pomares scored in stoppage time (of what was then an 80-minute game at U17 level), with players involved including Alexia Putellas, Kadidiatou Diani and Griedge Mbock Bathy. Spain are unbeaten in five final meetings with France, including a 3-0 group win last year in which Vicky started against Taeryne Job, with Mélinda Mendy coming off the bench for France.
Views from the camps.
Kenio Gonzalo, Spain coach: “We’ve worked all this year to reach the final, it’s incredible to be in this situation, and we have the support of an incredible federation. It’s different from last year. So, for the whole squad it was the first final of their career Now, Spain knows how to focus on the final.
“France is an incredible team, they have reached the final and they are a very good team. France have a lot of skills, but Spain can deal with that. France won their semi-final 10-2, but in the U17 tournament the players are very young, and a final is a different situation.”
Vicky López, captain of Spain: “Of course playing in a final is always incredible. This will be my last Under-17 final and I am very happy to play it and I hope we win!
“Last year the loss was a moment to reflect. He gave us the strength to win the World Cup and reach this final here. [Experience of playing finals] It’s a special thing we have. France does not have anyone who has played in a final last year. I have, and I can talk to my colleagues and tell them the positive and negative things, more or less what we have to do.
“France always have a good team. I think maybe their result in the semi-finals didn’t fully reflect the reality of the game. The final will be closer, it’s a different match and we have more experience going into this final.”
Peggy Provost, France coach: “The team is in good shape, there is a good group dynamic. The entire staff and everyone is preparing for the match and working on all the details to win this match.
“[Spain] They are an experienced team, they are in their tenth final and they want their fifth title. They play a game of possession. France are in their fourth final and want to win their first title, we have a good quality team that has shown they can score goals, with clinical players, it should be an open game.”
Maeline Mendy, captain of France: “The spirit in the team is good. We have worked hard to reach the final, we are proud of ourselves and we will give everything to win this game. The semifinal where we scored ten goals from 15 shots gave us a lot of confidence, so we We feel good for the final.
“[Spain] they are a very good team, but we are not afraid and we will do everything possible to beat them… Of course, when I see the trophy I feel that I really want to have it, and we will do everything possible to have it. at the end of the end”.
- Spain is in a record tenth final, one ahead of Germany.
- Spain seeks its fifth title; Germany has a record eight. Spain is also champion of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after victory in the last two editions of 2018 and 2022 (with Vicky López, who won the Ballon d’Or as best player, Ainhoa Alguacil and Cristina Librán, all part of last year’s win in India).
- France lost their three previous finals in 2007/08 (against Germany), 2010/11 (against Spain) and 2011/12 (against Germany). In 2012, France won the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
- France are aiming to be the fourth different champion after Germany, Spain and Poland (in 2012/13, the last four-team ties).
- This is the first final not to feature Germany since Spain beat Switzerland in 2014/15 (there were no finals in 2019/20 or 2020/21).
- Spain will be hoping to be the first team to win all five matches of a EURO WU17 final tournament in regulation time since the group stage was introduced in 2013/14.
- Spain can also complete the first perfect 11-game winning campaign, including qualifying (Germany won all eight games in their 2007/08 and 2008/09 inaugural campaigns under the old format).
- Spain are unbeaten in 20 WU17 matches, including qualifying (but not penalty shootouts) since a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands in the 2019 semi-finals. They are two shy of Germany’s record, set in their first 22 EURO WU17 matches
Can there be extra time in the EURO WU17 final?
As in all UEFA youth competitions, there will be no extra time if the match ends level after 90 minutes. The final would go directly to penalties, as in seven of the past 13 finals.